- WATCH North Korean Labour Camps on .tv now
SEOUL: Dennis Rodman, the basketball Hall of Famer who once wore a wedding gown to promote his autobiography, told North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, "You have a friend for life," after an exhibition game in the communist nation, according to organisers.
Mr Rodman is touring the country with members of the Harlem Globetrotters and sat alongside Kim during the game in Pyongyang, according to VICE, the Brooklyn, New York-based youth media company coordinating the cultural exchange mission for a television series that will air on the Home Box Office Inc. network.
The tour comes amid escalating tensions with neighbouring countries and the US after North Korea conducted a nuclear test this month.
Mr Rodman, who won five National Basketball Association championships and was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 2011, arrived in North Korea two days ago with Globetrotter players Bull Bullard, Buckets Blakes and Moose Weekes.
Mr Rodman didn't participate in Thursday's game, which featured the Globetrotter players split between the two teams that played to a 110-110 tie. He sat next to Kim at a courtside table during the game and the delegation met with Kim for dinner afterward, organisers said in a statement.
Mr Rodman, 51, is a seven-time NBA rebounding champion who's known for his tattoos, multicolored hair, piercings and outlandish behaviour, such as competing in professional wrestling events.
"We...are very pleased that Kim Jong Un could make it to the game and that everyone enjoyed themselves so much," VICE founder Shane Smith said in the statement. "To see everyone letting their hair down and getting into the match made it all the more worthwhile."
The week-long trip includes exhibition games and a basketball camp for North Korean children, events that tour organisers said are meant to "encourage openness and better relations with the outside world."